The Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD) has urged the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu to constitute a governing board with all disability clusters represented in order to give direction and inclusiveness in the management of the agency.
The group also called on the government to guide against the mismanagement of funds which has led to the impoverishment of PWDs in the state.
This was made known by Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, Lagos State Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD) during a press conference held in Lagos on Thursday.
He stressed that an independent audit of the agency and its managers should be initiated to expose fraud and corruption in the execution of projects and non-compliance with the Lagos State Procurement Law.
It called on the government to ensure the immediate disbursement of unpaid N100,000 and N50,000 empowerment and social security support funds respectively to all beneficiaries and stop favouritism in the allocation of funds to specific disability clusters, which have led to the marginalization of some disability groups in the state.
The group however warned that ignoring their demands would only ridicule the commitment and investment of the governor to guarantee inclusive development for PWDs through the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs [LASODA].
“Since the dissolution of the LASODA Governing Board in 2019, there has been no Governing board to provide oversight and administrative function to the agency, as provided by the SPL. This lacuna has helped the gross mismanagement of funds to foster within the agency as there is no consequences for misconduct.
“The administration of contracts by LASODA is a gross violation of the Lagos State Procurement law. Specifically, LASODA awarded contracts to a company with no legal or corporate identities—and some were not eligible for the award they got.
JONAPWD Allege Corruption In Contract Award By Lagos Office For Disability Affairs, Funds Disbursement
“For contexts, G.O. Dynasty has secured more than 30 percent of the 18 awards, since 2021, yet it has no corporate identity with the Corporate Affairs Commission. In event management, G.O. Dynasty got at least two contracts: a one-day sign language training for 200 civil servants at the cost of 3.5 million Naira; and ‘Planning for Media Plan Workshop’ for 1.6 million Naira.
“NEOTS, an oil-and-gas company based in Warri, from Warri, Delta, also received at least four LASODA’s contracts in events management, a field alien to hydrocarbons exploration. In supply of hardware, the company got two contracts: the agency’s office furniture for N2.5m in 2021, and mobility devices for the LASODA General Manager and his public affairs manager. The second award stood at N2.3m.
“Two other contractors were listed on the CAC the same day, on Feb. 27, 2020, and few months later, with no proven track record, they started grossing in LASODA’s contracts. Both have four between them so far.
“The Lagos State Special People’s Law (SPL) established the Disability Fund for the purpose of advancing the cause of PWDs in the state, and since 2016 has been receiving 500 Million Naira annually. However, the lack of transparency in the process of administering the 500 Million Naira disability fund has further worsened poverty and exclusion in the community.
“Some of the eligible beneficiaries of the 100,000 and 50,000 naira empowerment and social security support fund are yet to receive the fund till now, despite that LASODA claimed to have spent 10 Million Naira on that already.
“There are other instances where monies have been approved to PWDs, but after the public announcement and token shared before the media, nothing is ever heard again. For example, the 12 Million Naira given to select PWDs present at the one-day with the Governor in December 2020 were not given to all beneficiaries, or at least LASODA has not been account for how it shared out the money to the attendees. While some attendees got 100 thousand Naira each, some were given 50 thousand Naira each, and some did not receive anything.
“JONAPWD Lagos, and different clusters, at different times have submitted petitions to the Lagos State Government, which has not received any response or action. We have also set up different mediation mechanisms to address these gaps but none has yielded any positive result so far.
“We hereby make the following demands from the Lagos State Governor, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and we would like to emphasise that failure to address our concerns within the next 14 days would be tantamount to the neglect of over 2.5 million PWDs in the state, and we would be forced to embark on protests till something happens.
“Thus, as Lagosians with Disabilities, we demand that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu urgently; Constitute the LASODA Governing Board with all disability clusters represented in order to give direction and inclusiveness in the management of the Agency and avoid the mismanagement of funds which have further led to the impoverishment of PWDs in the state.
“Initiate an independent audit of the agency and its managers to expose the fraud and corruption in the execution of projects and non-compliance with the Lagos State Procurement law.”